In shopping around for a new phone system, you may find yourself asking a lot about features, integration and scalability but one of the most essential factors to consider is security. As much as Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems can offer your business benefits, there are also potential threats from inside and outside your organization such as hacking, toll fraud and phishing scams.
To protect yourself from security breaches, here are the key questions you should ask any potential provider before signing a contract. Because like any investment, it pays to ask the right questions upfront. And remember that security threats on VoIP services can change over time so stay informed. Even after you select them, keep asking new questions and maintaining a relationship with your service provider to ensure you’re protected.1. Does the service provider comply with federal guidelines?
Reputable service providers will comply with security guidelines laid out, in Canada, by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Be sure to check their credentials and compliance with these standards first.
2. What measures does this vendor take against domain name system (DNS) attacks and fraudulent interactions?
Professional service providers should be employing data protection measures like firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems and use redundant servers and 24/7 monitoring so they are alerted to any strange activity. Missing routers can also potentially wreak havoc so a good vendor can disable routers remotely and keep account credits intact. It’s also a good sign if they are able to encrypt traffic with reset default pins.
3. How does the vendor test for security vulnerabilities in the software?
Quality vendors will combine their in-house research to identify potential breach points or vulnerabilities with the latest reporting from trusted security specialists.
4. What steps is this provider taking to minimize downtime in the case of a breach?
Service can be disrupted from anything like severe weather or an unexpected influx of customers that clogs the network. Good providers should be monitoring their systems consistently and have system redundancy so there is no single point of failure. If the provider hosts the system from several locations, there is a backup in case one encounters problems. You also want to hear that their VoIP system is built on large, carrier-grade platforms.
5. How does the provider encrypt data transmissions and will it affect call quality?
Good service providers use encryption tools, but those take processing time and that can potentially cause jitter, echo, latency and audible distractions on calls. The best providers have hardware and software that prevents this from affecting call quality for end users. Ask about “latency” and “packet loss” to gauge how they measure the quality of their connections.
6. How is ‘patch deployment’ handled by the VoIP service provider?
VoIP services come with software updates to users but sometimes that upgrade process can be more disruptive than the problems it is trying to solve. Make sure to clarify with your provider how patches are distributed and ask how their system is integrated into your company’s own software updated protocol.
7. What does this vendor offer in terms of troubleshooting?
Any good VoIP service provider is always reachable by phone, even in off hours, by email and offers a way to log a ticket for a helpdesk system. There should also be staffers who can be deployed to your office to fix any issues but they also have the capability of remote access so there’s no downtime to your business.